Turkish court upholds ban on Islamic head scarves in universities

Turkey's top court ruled Thursday that Islamic head scarves cannot be allowed at university because that would violate secularism. The decision is a defeat for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-oriented government, which tried to allow the scarves at universities as a matter of personal and religious freedom. But the Constitutional Court verdict issued Thursday said constitutional amendments that were passed by Parliament in February violated secular principles. The head scarf issue is an explosive one Turkey, where the government is locked in a power struggle with secular groups that have support from the military and other state institutions. The verdict is likely to bode ill for the government. Turkey's chief prosecutor is seeking to disband the ruling party because it is "the focal point of anti-secular activities" in a separate case at the Constitutional Court. He has cited attempts to allow head scarves at universities as a case in point.